Five Things To Do In…. Bar Harbor

Colorful cottages in Narrows Too ME,
Colorful cottages in Narrows Too, ME

Right now, it’s important to continue to stay at home and practice social distancing. We hope you’re using this time to daydream a bit about your next trip. Our goal is to provide some ideas you may find inspiring or useful for a future trip.

Bar Harbor is at once an outdoor lover’s paradise and a picture-perfect seaside town. From the amazing Acadia National Park to the charming streets of downtown Bar Harbor, there is something for everyone to see and do. Hike, climb, stroll, and shop to your heart’s content in this charming New England gem.

We’ve highlighted just five of the hundreds of things to do when you visit Bar Harbor, Maine.

  1. Love the Lobster: Whether it’s learning all about the crustacean at the Oceanarium, taking a lobster boat ride on the Lulu Lobster Boat, or enjoying a traditional Maine Lobster Bake, this town is all about the lobster. The Oceanarium offers a two-part, hour-long program on lobsters that includes little known lobster facts while the Lulu provides an in-depth look at the life of a lobsterman and the lobster, as well – the coastal scenery while cruising is a plus! As for the lobster eating part, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the lobster – try a traditional lobster roll or a visit to Stewman’s Lobster Pound, which is about as authentic as you can get.

    Night sky along the Acadia National Park coastline
  2. See the Stars: As one of the biggest dark sky locations in the East, Acadia National Park is a great place to see the stars in the night sky. Top spots in the Park include Sand Beach, which has a convenient parking lot; Jordan Pond House, which offers the added bonus of the stars reflecting on the pond and the piece de resistance – Cadillac Mountain. During the summer months, the mountain stays open until midnight so stargazers can drive up and catch the sky show!
  3. Cross Over to Bar Island: If you want to see the reason it’s called Bar Harbor, wait until low tide and you’ll see the land bridge, which is actually a gravelly sandbar, that will take you across to Bar Island. Once on the island, you can hike and walk the trails and enjoy the surrounding views. Check the tide schedule, plan about an hour or so on Bar Island and head back across the land bridge before the tide rolls in!

    Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain
  4. Explore Acadia: From sunrise to sunset, Acadia is an all-day playground. If you are adventurous, hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain and watch the sunrise. Then it’s your choice for the day – bike the 45 miles of carriage roads, drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road, hike the myriad of trails (from easy to not so easy, there’s about 100 to tackle), or relax at Sand Beach. As we mentioned earlier, the stargazing here is amazing. Things not to miss here are the rush of Thunder Hole and the view of Otter Cliff.

    Downtown Bar Harbor, ME
  5. Take in the Town: Lots to do here from foodie tours to museums and live music. Take a three-hour culinary walking tour that not only offers plenty of food but history and lore of the town, as well (mainefoodietours.com/bar-harbor). There’s also a Bar Harbor Happy Hour Tour with a focus on appetizers and Maine craft beer. Or, visit the Abbe Museum and learn all about the people and culture of the Wabanaki, Maine’s Native people. Other museum options include the Bar Harbor Historical Society and the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History. There’s plenty of shopping and eateries and the nightlife hops here, as well. There’s plenty of bars with live music and some laughs can be had at ImprovAcadia. On Monday and Thursday evenings, the Bar Harbor Band offers free outdoor concerts on the Village Green.

While exploring Bar Harbor, make a colorful cottage or cozy cabin at Narrows Too or Mt. Desert Narrows your home base.

Explore the Flora

Tiny Houses from Tuxbury Tiny House Village in MA
Tiny Houses from Tuxbury Tiny House Village in MA

The month of May got its name from Mai, the goddess of plantings so we thought we’d highlight some of the indigenous floras around our country (some are always in bloom and some are seasonal, so plan accordingly).

Texas Bluebonnets: This pretty, little blue flower, so named because its petals resemble a sunbonnet, can be found in full bloom across Texas in the spring. In fact, the town of Burnet (outside Austin) is considered the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas and celebrates each year with a festival. Fredericksburg is also a great spot to see the bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers in their full spring glory via the Willow City Loop trail.

Best time to see: March through mid-April.

Where to stay: Spend the night in a cozy cabin at Medina Lake to round out your Bluebonnet trip.

California Golden Poppies

California Poppies: The state’s official flower since 1903, the California Poppy, or Golden Poppy, is native to California. The Native Americans who lived in the area found the flower a great source for both food and cooking oil. While poppies can be found throughout the state, the best place to see them is the Antelope Valley California Poppy State Natural Reserve near Lancaster. The Reserve has the most consistent blooms of the poppy. P.S. – Harry and Meghan fans may find it interesting that the Duchess of Sussex honored her California roots and had the poppy embroidered into her wedding veil, as well as made a part of her official coat of arms.

Best time to see poppies: Mid-March to mid-May.

Where to stay: Call it a night in a cozy cabin at Soledad Canyon.

Florida Mangroves: This Florida native does so much for so many – from providing shelter to Florida’s animal kingdom to playing an important role in the overall health of the coastal ecosystem. Four types of mangroves can be found in southern Florida and those are the red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove, and the buttonwood. Guided tours through mangrove tunnels are available in the Everglades as well as the Keys and several hiking opportunities are available too. For hiking options, check out floridahikes.com/mangroves.

Where to stay: Vacation tiny at the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village, or opt for a more woodsy accommodation with a cabin at Miami Everglades.

Spanish Moss

South Carolina Spanish Moss:  When you picture the South, don’t most of those visions include trees draped with Spanish Moss? Which then begs the question, just what is Spanish Moss? It is not a tree or moss at all, but instead a plant from the bromeliad family that uses the trees they drape for support but not at all for nutrients. Those come instead from the moisture in the air and rainwater running down the tree’s bark, among other things. The Low Country of South Carolina is a great place to see an abundance of Spanish Moss.

Sedona’s Prickly Pear: One of the most famous cacti native to the southwest is the saguaro, but when it comes to Sedona, Arizona, the popular cacti here is the prickly pear (fun fact: Red Rock country’s elevation is too high for the saguaro). Squat and low to the ground, unlike the taller saguaro, the prickly pear cactus can be identified by its flat pads. And, the fruit of the prickly pear can be eaten raw but is most delicious when made into a wine or syrup.

Where to stay: Check into a cozy cabin or tiny house at Verde Valley, and while you’re there, head to Alcantara Winery, which is conveniently located right next to Verde Valley.

Zoom from a Tiny House!

Add a little dose of tiny to your next Zoom session with friends and family. These Zoom backgrounds will make you feel like you’re in a tiny house while practicing social distancing. Simply download a photo, open Zoom, and select ‘Choose a Virtual Background’ to upload your photo. Happy Zooming!

Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key,

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Five Things To Do In…Santa Barbara

Scenic Santa Barbara offers beautiful landscapes, magnificent sunsets and many great things to do while visiting the “American Riviera.”

Santa Barbara, California, is rich in history – from the Chumash Indians who inhabited this coastal area more than 6,000 years ago, to the Spanish soldiers and missionaries who came in the 1700s, to the silent film industry that made Santa Barbara the hot spot for film production in the early 1900s. (Humble brag: many silent film stars frequented Rancho Oso, including Charlie Chaplin! Rancho Oso features teepees, safari tents, covered wagons, and cozy cabins.)

Today, Santa Barbara remains a hot spot – but now its about the beautiful landscape, the magnificent sunsets and all the great things to do here in the “American Riviera!” Here are just five don’t miss things to do in SB:

  1. Visit Chumash Painted Cave Historic Park: At this small park outside of Santa Barbara, visitors can view actual cave paintings created by the Chumash Indians thousands of years ago using a palette created from earth pigments including charcoal and limonite. Located inside a cave in the Santa Ynez Mountains, the drawings are protected by a grate so viewing may be during daylight hours.

    Chumash_PaintedCave
    Chumash Painted Cave Historic Park outside of Santa Barbara.
  2. The Old Mission in Santa Barbara was founded in 1786 and is one of the longest, continuously operating missions in California. The church that currently stands is actually the fourth built here and was constructed between 1815 to 1820. Its classic Greco-Roman design is said to be taken from the style of the architect Vitruvius, whose Roman structures date to 27 BC. Several different tours of the Mission can be taken that include both self-guided and docent-guided – check out santabarbaramission.org for details.
  3. Bask in the beauty of the gardens of Lotusland – a 37-acre estate of the late opera singer Madame Ganna Walska that contains 25 distinct gardens open to the public. The gardens were designed to always have something in bloom year-round, but if you’re specifically interested in the lotuses, visit in July and August. LotusFest! 2020 is currently planned for June 28.

    Water Garden at Lotusland
  4. Does anyone remember the 2004 Oscar-nominated film Sideways about a guys’ road trip to Santa Barbara wine country? If you’re a fan of the film, or a just a fan of the wine, you can follow the itinerary of the film’s main characters by downloading “Sideways-The Map” from santabarbara.com. Or, you can just choose to take one of many wine tours offered in Santa Barbara that include a Cupcake and Wine tour (our favorite!), a Wine and Bike Tour, or the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour. Visit www.winetours-santabarbara.com for all the fun details.

    Wine tours are a popular choice across Santa Barbara vineyards, along with hiking trails along the Santa Ynez mountains.
  5. Get Out and Hike: the weather is almost always accommodating for a lovely day hike in Santa Barbara and planetware.com has very nicely put together a quick list of 10 Top-Rated hikes (www.planetware.com/california/santa-barbara-hiking-trails-us-ca-72.htm) for some ideas. Inspiration Point, while rocky and steep, is considered a moderate hike, and hikers say is worth the view. If you want a glimpse of the harbor seals at the Carpinteria Seal Sanctuary, consider hiking the flat trail at the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve. A pup-friendly trail would be Rattlesnake Trail. Shaded, thanks to the oaks and sycamore trees, the trail provides great views and is also popular with birders!
Western cabins at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA.

While working your way through this list of things to do in Santa Barbara, be sure to double up on fun by staying in a teepee, covered wagon, safari tent, or cozy cabin at Rancho Oso! You’ll also have the opportunity to do some horseback riding, right onsite.

Respect the Vinyl: National Record Store Day

National Record Store Day is June 20, 2020, celebrate by paying homage to the vinyl that brings music to your ears.

When it first hit the airwaves, the idea of National Record Store Day was to spend a specifically designated date visiting your local record store to support the business. The first National Record Store Day was held on April 19, 2008. Skip forward to present day, and Record Store Day is celebrated on every continent. The concept was definitely “number one with a bullet.”

And, little known fact, Record Store Day should be called Record Store Days, because typically there are two designated days to celebrate, one in April and the other being Black Friday, which falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year National Record Store Day will be recognized on June 20. We’ve done the tour and rounded up a few stores near your favorite locations to visit, whether on National Record Store Day, or any other day you want to pay homage to the vinyl that brings music to your ears!

Seattle, Washington: Neptune Music Company, 4344 Brooklyn Avenue NE

Visitors say that although a small space, Neptune Music has everything you could imagine from a music standpoint which includes a knowledgeable owner, tons of records, and a unique selection. Another plus, it’s located in the basement of the Neptune Theater, a still-functioning music venue opened in 1921 in the hip and historic University District of Seattle.

Portland, Oregon: Mississippi Records, 5202 N. Albina

Complete with listening stations, this record store also features a large supply of the good old 45 in its vast collection that includes everything from rock and blues to international music. They also have a selection of vintage electronics. Please note the store’s policy is CASH ONLY.

St. Petersburg, Florida: Bananas Vinyl Warehouse, 2222 16th Avenue N.

This is one big record collection! Bananas two-story warehouse holds more than three million LPs and records and receives more than 1000 new additions to the collection weekly. Plus, there is the nearby retail store (2887 22nd Avenue N). One visitor remarked “if Bananas doesn’t have it, it doesn’t exist.” Note to visitors, the warehouse is vinyl only while the retail store has CDS, DVDs, and more.

Boston, Massachusetts: Cheapo Records, 538 Mass Avenue, Cambridge

Cheapo Records has been around since 1954, so they must be doing something right. Located in the Central Square area of Cambridge (just a quick T-ride from Boston), the shop is said to have more than 100,000 vinyl albums as well as 100,000 45s. Consistently rated five stars by visitors, you can most likely find just what you’ve been searching for at Cheapo.

Cheapo Records in Boston, Massachusetts

Cincinnati, Ohio: Shake It Records, 4156 Hamilton Avenue

Located in Cincinnati’s eclectic Northside neighborhood, the Shake It Records experience begins with the store’s colorful façade and continues inside the 1,000 square foot store that is chock full of music from the 25,000-piece vinyl collection to the 15,000+ CDs available. Independent labels are the main act here, but mainstream selections can be found as well from rock and roll to country classics. 

Chicago, Illinois: Dave’s Records, 2604 N. Clark Street

Dave’s is a true record store – meaning it sells records only. You won’t find CDs or vintage 8-tracks, just vinyl, vinyl, and more vinyl in the store’s 40,000-plus collection. A small space but the perfect spot to find the rarest gems to the newest releases from the world of vinyl. Head to Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and look for the sign in the window that reads “No CDS. Never had ‘em!! Never Will!!” and you’ll find the treasure trove known as Dave’s Records.

Visit www.recordstore.com for a listing of record stores near you across the US

That’s just a quick list of the hits – but if you find yourself looking for a record store, visit www.recordstore.com for a listing of record stores across the US. And, if you’re spending time at home like so many of us are, don’t forget to check out if your favorite record store has an online store, as well.

Forest Bathing – No Water Required!

Forest Bathing is the latest way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a boom in technology that plunged the average, everyday person into the digital world, resulting in what could be called screen-time addiction. During that time, the use of home computers, hand-held video games, and portable pocket-sized devices for our viewing and listening pleasures became the norm rather than the exception.

So, it’s no wonder that in the early 1980s, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries began to promote the practice of shinrin-yoku to encourage people to spend time in nature. Shinrin-yoku translates to “forest bathing,” which is fast becoming a popular way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.  ­

Studies have shown plenty of positive health benefits of forest bathing. It reduces levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. It also has been proven to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, boost energy levels, and provide more sound sleep.  Plus, you don’t necessarily need to do anything strenuous – simply bathe in the natural surroundings and be present in the very moment!

Come stay with us and enjoy the nearby forests and take the plunge (no bathtub necessary) to see why forest bathing is making such a big splash these days.

The Deschutes National Forest is just minutes from the yurts and cabins at Bend-Sunriver. Bask in the beauty of the soaring trees, which include Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, Western larch, and White pines. There are roughly 76 moderate trails in the 1.8 million acres that comprise the forest. Waterfalls, wildlife, and mountain views add to your bathing pleasure!

Safari Tents at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA.

If you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara to stay in a teepee, tent, covered wagon, or cabin at Rancho Oso, you’ll be happy to know California’s Los Padres National Forest is conveniently less than 10 miles away and provides the perfect forest bathing venue. Coming in at approximately 1.9 million acres, Los Padres has over 1000 miles of trails and is home to magnificent coastal redwoods, pine and fir trees as well a variety of oak tree species, including Blue Oak and California Black Oak. Oh, and Pfeiffer Beach is also located within the forest so you can actually get wet while forest bathing here!

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, New Hampshire, has two nearby options for forest bathing: Cowden State Forest and Powwow River State Forest. While a short drive away, about an hour and a half to be exact, this puts you smack dab in the middle of the White Mountain Forest with plenty of hemlock, pines, and spruce trees to bathe in. Fun fact, the state of New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the US with roughly 81 percent of forest land, so everywhere you look, there’s an option to forest bathe!

Cabins at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

Take a trip to Wisconsin’s Door County and you’ll find yourself surrounded by forest lands, including Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands. A stay at Tranquil Timbers is a great way to get your daily dose of forest bathing. Baileys is home to spruce, cedar, birch, and hemlock trees as well as a bevy of birds including warblers and merlins who can add the soundtrack to bath time.

Spring Break 2020 – Have it Your Way

Tiny Houses at Sunshine Key in Big Pine Key, FL.

Just like the old burger chain slogan, you can choose to do spring break “your way” and you’ll find you’ll have a whopper of a good time! Here are some ideas to customize your spring break so you and your travel companions, whether it’s family, friends, or your significant other, will find your travel appetites completely satisfied.

Cottages at Tropical Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL.

Family Fun: We know you’ve heard it before, but Disney World really does offer something magical for everyone, from the young to the young at heart. You may hear “when are we going to get there” as you embark on this spring break journey, but once you’re there, most likely no one will be complaining one bit. Plan a stay at one of the colorful cottages at Tropical Palms Resort Kissimmee and explore all Disney has to offer. Plus, Orlando’s got some new things to keep you smiling including Magic Happens, a daytime parade with characters from Moana and Frozen, which debuted in February, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a new thrill ride that will delight Harry Potter fans, which debuted last summer.

View of Downtown Palm Springs, California.

Girls’ Getaway: Shop, eat, repeat – sounds like a great agenda for a girls getaway. Toss in plenty of sunshine, desert hikes, and colorful cottage accommodations and you’ve got yourself an all-star girls trip. All of these things and more can be found in Palm Springs, California. Get the fun started by reserving your cottage accommodation at Palm Springs and then let Palm Springs do its thing. Hike the Andreas Canyon Trail or take a drive to hike in Joshua Tree National Park. Shop ‘til you drop in downtown Palm Springs or the trendy Uptown Design District. From a foodie standpoint, there’s everything you can imagine from steakhouses, sushi joints, and farm to table. There are also several foodie tours so you can sample and see what you’ll be back for later! Enjoy VillageFest which happens every Thursday night in downtown Palm Springs and features arts, crafts, food, and live entertainment.

Guys’ Getaway: What’s better than a group of guys swapping stories about the one that got away? How about being together when one of you, or maybe all of you, reel in the Big One? And, let’s be clear, we’re talking about fish here. If fishing floats your collective boats, head down to the Florida Keys, book a stay in the new tiny homes at Sunshine Key and fish, fish, fish. The resort has teamed up with Keys Boat Tours so you can conveniently book your fishing adventures right at the resort as well as depart direct from the resort on your quest to add to your fish tales! P.S. – you can also choose to fish onsite at the resort!

Tiny Houses at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, AZ.

Romantic Respite: Not sure, but is there such a thing as a quiet spring break for two? Whether you’re looking to connect or reconnect, consider experiencing the beauty and oft-transformative Sedona, Arizona. First on the list would be cozy accommodations so book a tiny home stay at Verde Valley. Then, take a hike and explore the healing powers of the vortexes found in Red Rock State Park, namely Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock. Toast to love and happiness with wine tastings along the Verde Valley Wine Trail (verdevalleywine.org). End your perfect days with some premium stargazing as Sedona is one of only 20 certified Dark Sky Communities in the world! Check out spacetourismguide.com to find the best spots to see the stars of Sedona.

Sedona, AZ, hiking • Red Rock State Park

Five Things to Do In… Bend, Oregon

Yurts at Bend-Sunriver in Bend, Oregon.

According to an article in The Oregonian, Bend ranked 4th in the US as a vacation rental hotspot, based on a 2019 survey. The top three spots went to Florida locations. So, what makes Bend, a small city in Central Oregon, rank fourth on a list headed by some real hot spots? We’ve come up with just five reasons, but there are plenty more to be there now when it comes to Bend.

  1. Spelunking and Caving: First off, spelunking is just a fancy word for exploring caves, of which the area has plenty. There are said to be 400 lava tubes in the area and Wanderlust Tours (wanderlusttours.com) offers a great way to see the ones that are accessible. You can also choose to explore on your own – check out Hidden Forest Cave, Boyd Cave, or Redmond Caves, which has five different lava tubes to explore.
  2. Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint: For more lava fun, head to Pilot Butte, which is actually the lava dome of an extinct volcano, rising 500 feet above the surrounding plains. A nice little trail provides access to the dome, which offers an amazing panoramic view of the snow-capped Cascades.
  3. Tumalo Falls: From June to October, the 90+-foot waterfall is the star of the show in Deschutes National Forest. Hike a seven mile loop trail and you’ll find the viewing platform, which provides the perfect spot for great photo ops. (Do it for the ‘gram.) Further up the trail, Middle Tumalo Falls, a two-tiered cascade is pretty spectacular, as well.
  4. Floating on the Deschutes River: The Deschutes River can easily be considered the biggest playground in Bend from May to September. On any given day, you’ll find kayakers, tubers, paddlers and floaters enjoying the scenery along the river. Floating is just one way to explore and enjoy the Deschutes. Check out visitbend.com to see how you can all float on!

    Floating on the Deschutes River.
  5. Bend Ale Trail: Is the Pacific Northwest really the birthplace of craft breweries? Maybe, maybe not, but one way to find out the history and enjoy the results of the craft beer craze is the Bend Ale Trail. There are several ways to explore the trail including by bike, trolley and tour bus. Choose one, drink responsibly, and say cheers to the innovation of Bend’s craft brewers. You’ll soon discover why Bend has been referred to as “Beer Town USA” and “Beervana.”

    Enjoy Craft Beer in “Beer Town USA.”

While exploring the natural beauty of Bend and eating or drinking your way through their exciting culinary and craft brewery scene, relax a bit in one of our yurts or cabins at Bend-Sunriver. It’ll make your visit even more photoworthy!

Cabins at Bend-Sunriver in Bend, Oregon.

Five Things to Do In……Houston/Lake Conroe, Texas

Glamping views in Lake Conroe • Willis, TX

A winter getaway to Texas will provide much in the way of cultural diversity, rich history, great food and music and, of course, moderate weather (average daytime highs are around 65 degrees in winter). There’s also plenty of great fishing and hiking in the area. We’ve highlighted five great things to do if find yourself Texas-bound!

  1. Space Center Houston: Housing more than 400 space artifacts, Space Center Houston is one of the city’s top attractions, welcoming close to 1 million visitors annually. It has the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples, as well as space capsules, lunar modules and robonauts, which are humanoid robots, one of which currently serves aboard the International Space Station.
  2. Cockerell Butterfly Center: With more than 100 species of exotic butterflies and insects making their home here, this is a must-do for nature lovers. Also, the Center houses the Rainforest Conservatory, a three-story glass structure that acts as a simulated rainforest and has plenty of butterflies alighting on the exotic plants here. Don’t miss the 50-foot waterfall!
  3. Lone Star Monument & Historical Flag Park: Displaying 13 flags that flew during the history of the great state of Texas, this beautiful 3.5-acre park is worth the trip. Located in Conroe, visitors can also see The Texian, a 14-foot bronze sculpture by Conroe artist Craig Campobella, that depicts a soldier of the Texas Revolution.
  4. Distilleries, vineyards, and breweries: Starting with distilleries, you can find more than 10 dotting the countryside between Conroe and Houston where can sip spirits including vodka, whiskey, and rum. Check out distillerytrail.com to see locations in the area, as well as all across Texas. Blue Epiphany Vineyards (blue-ephiphany.com) in Conroe has a tasting room as well as a schedule of special events while Wild Stallion Vineyards (wildstallionvineyards.com) in nearby Spring offers a tasting room and an upcoming spring concert series. Beer lovers will appreciate the craft brewers in the area which include B52 Brewing, set on seven wooded acres complete with a tap room and beer garden, and Southern Star Brewing Company, which offers tours and has plenty of events including Trivia and Tacos Thursdays and live music and food trucks on Fridays.
  5. Fernland Historical Park and Museum and Memory Garden: Located in Montgomery, Texas, Fernland has several historic homes that have been relocated to provide a hands-on educational opportunity for visitors. The homes depict life in early Texas and are examples of early Texas architecture. All the homes date to the 1800s and range from rustic cabins to a Greek-revival home build in 1845.
Cozy cabins • Lake Conroe • Willis, TX

While exploring all the Houston and Lake Conroe areas have to offer, make a cozy cabin at Lake Conroe your homebase, where you can also relax by the pool and take in views of the lake from your deck.

Black History Sites

The historic and famous Acorn Street in Boston

February is Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized the month of February as a time to “recognize the accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” However, the original concept to recognize black history dates to the early 1900s and is attributed to Carter G. Woodson, who is considered the “father of black history.” There are many historic sites throughout the US significant to black history, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016 in Washington DC. The museum is the largest destination dedicated to the African-American experience. A few more sites are listed here.

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument: Part of the National Park System, this location in Wilberforce, Ohio, preserves and interprets the legacy of the Buffalo Soldier of the U.S. Army. Through photos and other multi-media exhibits, visitors can learn about these soldiers who served in America’s wars, beginning with the Civil War.

Wilberforce is approximately 30 miles from the cabins and cottages at Wilmington.

National Civil Rights Museum:  The museum, located in Memphis, Tennessee, explores the history of the Civil Rights Movement and houses more than 260 artifacts. Through these artifacts, films and other multi-media exhibits, visitors can trace the history of the movement beginning with the 17th century. The museum is built around the Lorraine Motel, which was the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Memphis is approximately 68 miles from the cozy cabins at Cherokee Landing.

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site: Visitors to this national park in Washington, D.C., can tour Cedar Hill, where Frederick Douglass lived from 1877 until his death in 1895, through a guided tour with a Park Ranger. There is also a film, Fighter for Freedom: The Frederick Douglass Story, as well as other historical exhibits.

Freedmen’s Town National Historic District: This neighborhood in Houston was one of several areas established by freed slaves after the Civil War. Roughly 1000 freed slaves settled the community after leaving the cotton plantations of Texas. The history of the area can be explored at the Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum and the African American Library at the Gregory School.

Houston is about 50 miles from Lake Conroe, where you can stay in a cozy cabin.

African American National Historic Site/Black Heritage Trail: The Black Heritage Trail runs through the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and highlights 15 pre-Civil War structures and historic sites important to black history. The African Meeting House, which is the oldest surviving black church in the United States, dating to 1806, is on the trail. The trail also includes the home of John Coburn, an African-American abolitionist who aided the efforts of the Underground Railroad.

Boston is 45 miles from the Tuxbury Tiny House Village.